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Flat-Line Test Results for 'Power Saver' on My House

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  • Sterling D. Allan
    http://www.perentech.com/powersavers/dialogue/flat-line.htm Flat-Line Test Results for Power Saver on My House April 10, 2003 (Note, I m short on time to
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2003
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      Flat-Line Test Results for 'Power Saver' on My House

      April 10, 2003
      (Note, I'm short on time to give a full report.  This much is to give the essence.)


      Today I ran a series of tests to see how well the EnergyWise-1000 unit works on my home.  I had the unit installed on March 27, so this would be the fifteenth day it has been on the home.

      Results Summary

      The results were not favorable, either in comparing our meter readings, nor in looking at the appliance-by-appliance tests we ran.  There is no identifiable overall improvement, and possibly even an increase in power usage.  "Idle" mode of capacitor, with no load sensor to shut it off, is very substantial, contributing to a net loss because of lack of adequate overall gain.  The inductive load has to be quite high before the "idle" mode goes away.  According to the amp reading test, of all the appliances run alone, only the Air Conditioner draw was sufficient to take the EW unit out of "idle" mode and actually realize a power savings.  The actual power meter (spinning spindle, owned by city, basis of electric bill) showed power savings only for the washing machine.

      Darn it!

      I wish the results were positive.  I had high hopes for this unit, and wanted to promote it.  Based on today's results, I will be withdrawing my endorsement of the product, which endorsement came from data I had seen from the unit performance on several other homes.

      Reasons for the Poor Data

      There are two reasons for the poor performance.  First, our home is 1.5 years old, and our appliances are new.  Most appliances made nowadays incorporate the very capacitor technology that forms the basis of the EnergyWise-1000 unit for the home, so by the time the power factor correction is applied on the home level, there is little left to correct.  Compare this to industry where a unit like this has been standard fare for 20 years to provide tremendous savings in that setting of high inductive loads.

      Second, the idle mode of the unit is high enough that any savings that do occur are undone by the idle cost.  The unit actually draws significant amperage (around 6+ amps is what we saw today) when it is not being called upon to provide the heavy power factor correction from a back-EMF inductive load.

      Meter Reading Comparisons

      Today, the city gave us a print-out of our day-by-day electrical usage over a 48-day span up to April 7, 2003; as well as a print-out from the corresponding period of time last year.

      From the March 28 reading (9406 kW-H) to April 7 (9545) we used 139 kilowatt-hours.  Over the ten days, that comes to 13.9 kW-H per day on average.

      During the 38 days previous to that, we used 554 kW-H, which comes to an average of 14.6 kW-H per day -- just 4.8% higher than the 10-day period during which the EnergyWise-1000 unit was in place.  This is not impressive, especially considering that our furnace (fan) has been on less during this 10-day period than it was during the 38 days prior.  All other factors have been essentially the same.

      EnergyWise advertises that the power saver will cut electrical usage "between 8% and 25%" and that estimate is supposed to be "conservative."  Under their breath, they hint that savings could be even higher than that.

      Last year, with no EnergyWise-1000 unit installed, we had 17.3% less electrical usage during the same 10-day period compared to the 38 days prior.

      Last year's usage during the 38-day prior (to installation) period was 12.4% less than this year's, showing that in general, we were using less electricity last year compared to this year.  But now look at this.  Last year's usage during the 10 days that correspond to the 10 days this year that we had the EnergyWise-1000 unit installed was 24% less twice as much difference -- in the wrong direction.

      38 days: Feb. 16 - March 2812.7 kW-H / day14.6 kW-H / day
      10 days: March 28 - April 710.5 kW-H / day13.9 kW-H / day
      EnergyWise Installed

      In other words, using last year as a comparison, our average electrical usage actually increased this year during the first 10-day period when the EnergyWise-1000 unit was supposed to be saving us money.

      This time of year, in our climate, is one of the lower power usage times because neither the heater nor the air conditioner are required as much.

      The printout the city gave us shows a graph of day-to-day usage.  The usage is flat-line, even though it should show a noticeable drop immediately after we installed the EnergyWise-1000 unit.

      Meter Reading, Appliance by Appliance

      Data report pending (very busy right now, so it may take a few days before I get to this)

      Appliances tested isolated, with nothing else running (except doorbell lights).  The following results derived from watching the speed of the meter spinning.
       o AC - no difference with EW
       o Fridge - worse by 8.5% with EW on (due to EW idle mode)
       o Dishwasher - no difference with EW
       o Washing Machine spin - 8.1% improvement with EW
       o Skill Saw - no difference with EW
       o All fans on (3 bathroom, 1 stove fan) - worse with EW (idle)
       o Blender -  worse with EW (idle)


      Amperage, Appliance by Appliance

      The idea here was to measure the amperage coming in from the city, and then going in to the house, after the EnergyWise unit has managed the power. 

      There are two hot cables coming in from the city (left), and then two going into the house (right).

      Amperage data was collected from all four of these, for each energy situation, and collected both for the EnergyWise "on" and "off" positions -- eight data points for each appliance arrangement.

      Data report pending (very busy right now, so it may take a few days before I get to this)

      Amp readings

      Add 1 + 2 for power in from city; Add 3 + 4 for power to house
      Note that with the EnergyWise unit turned off, the reading from 1+2 is approximately the same as the reading from 3+4 (expected).
      Readings with two decimal places were on a higher sensitivity setting.
      (tare setting = -0.02 and -0.2)





      Main House Breaker offew off0.14O.140.28-0.02-0.02-0.04
      ew on6.997.0414.0-0.02-0.02-0.04
      "Idle Mode"
      Breaker on, nothing running
      (except doorbell lights)
      ew off0.38??0.221.401.62
      ew on7.276.3413.

      "Idle Mode"

      Blenderew off0.141.211.35-
      ew on6.997.0114.0-
      Waffle Maker
      (resistive load)
      ew off0.144.784.920.004.824.82
      ew on6.968.7715.70.004.864.86
      ACew off13.220.433.613.120.533.6
      ew on11.717.729.413.120.633.7

      power savings

      furnace fan &
      one bathroom fan
      ew off0.485.405.880.545.506.04
      ew on6.407.0113.40.565.466.02
      Fridgeew off0.121.301.42-
      ew on6.936.3213.
      Dishwasherew off10.60.611.210.50.511.0
      ew on11.36.918.210.60.511.1
      Washer, spin cycleew off0.
      ew on6.74.811.5-
      Skill sawew off0.05.35.3-
      ew on6.68.715.3-

      One test we ran was to incrementally add another fan, beginning with the furnace fan.  The hungry idle mode stayed in place until we had about four fans going, at which the amperage coming from the city began dropping, even though another inductive load was added.

      Voltage Drop with "Idle Mode"

      One thing that was quite puzzling to me is that even though the amp reading was quite a bit higher in so many cases above, when the EnergyWise unit was turned on, the meter did not spin noticeably faster.  The meter is reading kilowatts used.  Kilowatts is volts times amps.

      We took some voltage readings, to see if perhaps the voltage changed.

      When the EnergyWise unit was turned off, the voltage meter (AC rectified) read 122.0 Volts from each hot lead (wires 1,2,3,4) to ground.  When the EnergyWise unit was turned on, the voltage read 121.2 on wires 1 and 2, and it read 121.7 on wires 3 and 4.  Perhaps that much drop in voltage, though small, in part contributes to only a moderate increase in Watts used, even though the amperage goes way up in EW idle mode.  (Note, we did not do hardly any volt readings, assuming that the voltage would remain the same -- 120 Volts as standard.  Now I wish I would have tried to characterize that a little better while we had the instruments on hand.)

      Better Luck Next Time (If They Can Survive)

      Maybe the next generation produced by EnergyWise will be something to take notice of.  Meanwhile, with the above kind of date, I can see why their technical people have been so terribly negligent to answer our questions and give us the date they promised to send.

      Test Operators

      Report prepared by Sterling D. Allan, home occupant.

      Special thanks to Darrel Jacobsen, of Fountain Green, UT, and his brother, Thomas Jacobsen, who spent five hours collecting data, out in the hot sun on the South side of the house.

      Apologies to the gentleman in California who recently bought one of these off of this website.  Gratefully, the unit has not yet been delivered, and money can be refunded.

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